ALEXANDRIA (FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup 2018) - Making it to the final of the FIBA 3x3 Africa Cup set for November 9-11 in Lome, Togo is at the pinnacle on the to-do-list for Egyptian Asrar Maged.
Getting to the top is, however, easier wished than done but Maged and her teammates are ready to get their hands dirty, work hard and scramble for every point necessary to earn them a podium place at the continental showpiece that has attracted a total of 12 teams.
Egypt finished in fifth place at the inaugural edition last year and when Maged and her troops land in Lome, they will be seeking to make amends and join the elite class of African 3x3 basketball.
"WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO MAKING A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT THAT WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN. WE WILL ALL PUT EFFORTS AND FOCUS TO ACHIEVE THE BEST WE CAN. WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TAUGHT TO AIM HIGH AND OUR AIM IS TO REACH THE FINAL."
An excited Maged told FIBA.basketball in an exclusive interview that, "I always feel super blessed when I wear the national team jersey and have the opportunity to play for my country. The pride I feel representing my country cannot be described and that is what maximises my performance in the court.
"We are looking forward to making a great achievement, that will not be forgotten. We will all put efforts and focus to achieve the best we can. We have always been taught to aim high and our aim is to reach the final."
Egypt will face top opposition from the reigning champions Mali, last year's finalists Nigeria, second runners-up Uganda as well as Cote d'Ivoire on their quest to the top.
"We know our competitors well and we have been in competition with them several times which adds more to our experience. We all believe we can do it with our hard work and perseverance. Another thing which will always be our key is teamwork. We will mainly focus on teamwork and by this we are making it harder for our competitors to defeat us."
“REACHING TOKYO 2020 IS A DREAM AND WILL DEFINITELY ADD MORE TO OUR DETERMINATION TO WIN EVERY MATCH AND MAKE THE BEST WE CAN OUT OF EACH SECOND WE HAVE ON THE COURT.”
Ultimately, this year's tournament provides the chance for teams to amass points that could go a long way in helping them qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which will be the debut appearance for 3x3 basketball at the prestigious Summer Olympic Games.
"Reaching Tokyo 2020 is a dream and will definitely add more to our determination to win every match and make the best we can out of each second we have on the court. The incentive of winning the tournament as well as reaching Tokyo, for me, is more than enough to make us believe that we can do anything we want," Maged explained.
Maged is particularly impressed with the shorter version of the hoops game and narrates a good ordeal about its flawless attributes that have everyone embracing it on the African continent and beyond.
"Basketball players love enthusiasm and competition which differentiates 3x3 tournaments from normal ones. 3x3 basketball lightens up our inner flame of energy and power. For me, 3x3 basketball is double fun because of the non-stop movement of the ball and how you must rely on your individual talent to benefit the whole team," she pointed out.
Twelve teams including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Uganda will battle for the three available podium places.